Friday, June 14, 2024
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Pay increment a slap on people`s faces

Unity Fiji Leader Savenaca Narube says the Fiji Parliament awarding itself huge pay increases to add to the rise in the non-taxable allowance they gave themselves last year, is a slap in the face of the people.

The former Reserve Bank of Fiji Governor said there is a sad absence of economic and financial logic in the recommendations of the Remuneration Committee.

Narube said the importance of the functions of the Parliamentarians remains unchanged.

He said the breadth of their duties remains the same, nothing has changed –  In addition, the pay is not performance-based. No one assesses the performance of our Parliamentarians.

“This is a sad day for the people. Many people including Unity Fiji have openly opposed this untimely and insensitive move. Yet, Parliament has voted to pay themselves these enormous increases. There is no shame. There is no logic. It smacks of the previous Fiji First Government who did not care what the people thought or said. This Government promised us changes. The faces in parliament have changed but it’s the same old, same old self-serving tactic,” Narube said.

According to Narube, Parliament has not considered the flow on impact of this irrational decision which will include the following:

  • Parliament has opened a series of chain reactions that will seriously hurt the potential of the economy to grow and reduce poverty. They have made it very difficult to reduce debt as a percentage of GDP.
  • The demand for pay increases by workers including the civil servants of similar percentages that the Parliamentarians have paid themselves will rise. Many workers have not received any pay rise since the COVID pandemic. Many companies will not be able to pay. This may lead to industrial unrest. In its mediation role, the Government will not be able to call for a wage restraint.
  • This Government has not done anything to moderate the rise in the cost of living. Instead, they worsened it by raising VAT to 15 percent. They have now worsened the situation by institutionalizing the higher cost of living. Higher wages will lead to higher prices which will further raise the cost of living pushing more and more people below the poverty line.
  • The higher parliamentary wage bill will reduce public resources that would have been available for health, education, law and order, drug prevention, and social welfare. The Government will find it difficult to refuse funding of reasonable expenditure demands.

The former Governor said the voting list in parliament was available which identified those who voted for the pay rise.

“I fully understand if the people feel betrayed by those that they voted for. Again, these Parliamentarians have put their interest above the people. It has happened too many times. Where will this end?”

He called on voters to put a stop to these self-serving leaders.

“We must demand that an independent committee be given this responsibility. To allow this to happen, we must remove the imposed 2013 Constitution in a court of law. Finally, we must consider very carefully who we vote for in the next elections.”

Ilaitia Ravuwai
Ilaitia Ravuwai
Journalist | news@fijilive.com

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